McMurdo Group was launched today as a new global company in end-to-end search and rescue (SAR) and maritime domain awareness (MDA) solutions. Comprised of Orolia’s former Positioning, Tracking and Monitoring Division, McMurdo Group combines Boatracs, Kannad, McMurdo and Techno-Sciences, Inc. into the industry’s first, single-vendor provider of end-to-end lifesaving and tracking solutions including distress beacons, satellite connectivity infrastructure, monitoring/positioning software and emergency response management.
“The formation of McMurdo Group is far more just than a corporate realignment. It is an opportunity to lead, simplify and educate a fragmented, complex market with a unified strategy and an expansive solutions offering unparalleled in the industry today,” said Jean-Yves Courtois, CEO of McMurdo Group. “The end result will be the acceleration of more effective and innovative SAR and MDA solutions that will create benefits for our customers today and in the future.”
With more than 140 years of collective experience in emergency preparedness, vessel management and rescue operations, McMurdo Group will focus on three key strategic areas:
• Search and Rescue – improving the rescue chain to further expedite recovery times
• Maritime Domain Awareness – driving convergence of fleet/vessel management, intrusion detection and coastal surveillance solutions to improve operations and enhance security
• Technology Partner Solutions – integrating technology, componentry and software platforms into third-party solutions to extend SAR and MDA systems into new markets and geographies
Search and Rescue
McMurdo Group currently manufactures nearly 25 percent of the world’s emergency beacons which are used by major aviation, marine and military customers including Airbus, Boeing, the U.S. Coast Guard, the British Royal Navy and several government agencies. The group recently announced its intention to acquire Techno-Sciences Inc. (TSi), one of the world’s top two providers of ground station infrastructure for the International COSPAS-SARSAT satellite-based search and rescue system, which has helped save nearly 35,000 lives since 1982.
In a typical satellite-based search and rescue scenario, ships, aircraft or individuals transmit distress signals from an emergency location beacon via satellite to a fixed ground receiving station. The ground receiving station calculates the location of the emergency and generates an alert for the appropriate rescue authorities. Today, the beacon-to-alert process can take several minutes or longer. McMurdo Group’s involvement in the development and implementation of the next-generation COSPAS-SARSAT system (MEOSAR) will reduce this time to a few seconds.
“McMurdo Group will soon be able to provide the entire COSPAS-SARSAT ecosystem – from the beacons to satellite ground station infrastructure to mission and rescue control center software – resulting in seamless integration and enhanced performance between the various SAR ecosystem components,” said Jeremy Harrison, President, McMurdo Group SAR Solutions. “We are also very excited about the role we will play in delivering an end-to-end next-generation MEOSAR solution to our customers.”
Maritime Domain Awareness
The current fragmentation of environmental, security, safety and SAR situational awareness systems provides an opportunity for convergence. McMurdo Group plans to lead this effort by integrating its broad range of MDA, SAR and Automatic Identification System (AIS) technologies into solutions that streamline operations and protect assets. For example, McMurdo Group’s fleet/vessel management software, currently used on thousands of vessels and in 5 of the 6 top inland waterway transportation companies in the U.S., includes AIS beacon and man overboard (MOB) functionality. McMurdo Group also provides an offshore safety/security solution used to manage the world’s longest contiguous coastal surveillance system (3,000km) and maintain simultaneous AIS tracking on up to 60,000 vessels.
“The benefits of an MDA solution include higher efficiency, improved productivity and increased security, but the lack of standardization is disrupting its acceptance and effectiveness,” said Irwin Rodrigues, President, McMurdo Group MDA and Technology Partner Solutions. “By having a common software platform the entire user experience becomes less complex resulting in unified interfaces, better adoption levels and reduced costs. Customer support will also be key to provide the proper service levels required for these mission critical applications.”
Technology Partner Solutions
Through its Technology Partner Solution strategy, McMurdo Group will offer customized products and expertise in hardware/software product design, development, engineering and manufacturing to partners. McMurdo Group’s specialized industry knowledge will be critical as partners integrate SAR and MDA functionality into their current and future offerings. CLS, for example, partners today with McMurdo Group to design and supply specialized beacons to monitor fishing fleets in over 70 countries.
“Whether it is a beacon, satellite infrastructure or monitoring software, we will have a solution,” said Jean-Yves Courtois, CEO McMurdo Group. “This will allow our existing customers and partners as well as those in new markets or geographies to confidently build solutions for remote or high-risk environments knowing they are backed by the intelligence and technology of the SAR and MDA industry leader.”